Peterhead left Bayview empty-handed with manager Jim McInally labelling his side’s second half showing as: “Utter garbage”.
The Blue Toon arrived in Methil aiming to put some daylight between themselves and the Fifers.
Instead the home side’s 2-0 win meant East Fife jumped above Peterhead into seventh place on goal difference.
McInally’s men have dropped to eighth, and he said things must improve as his club is danger of being drawn into a relegation struggle.
He said: “The game was the story of our season, we just weren’t good enough.
“In the second half we were utter garbage. The whole team knows we are better than that but all too often this season we just come up short.
“The last time we played East Fife we lost three set-piece goals and lost another from one in this game.
“It just keeps happening and we have to come up with the answers to get ourselves out of this trouble.”
Peterhead started the game well enough and forced a series of early corners.
From one Fiacre Kelleher went close to breaking the deadlock but his header rebounded off the crossbar.
It was a first half of few chances, and at the other end Jonathan Page also went close with a header which flew a couple of foot over the bar. That was really it from an opening half which did not live long in the memory.
The second half was going to be about which side came out and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and wanted the win more.
That side was undoubtedly East Fife.
Barely a couple of minutes after the restart they were ahead when Scott Mercer’s free kick was flicked into the six-yard box by Page.
First to the ball was Jason Kerr who rattled his close range shot past Fraser Hobday.
Peterhead failed to respond to going behind and found themselves two down 10 minutes later.
Tony Wallace marauded his way through the Blue Toon defence and slid the ball to Kevin O’Hara.
The on-loan Falkirk attacker composed himself before doubling his side’s advantage.
His goal gave East Fife a comfortable lead and one which they were happy to defend.
Peterhead were reduced to shots from distance and Scott Brown almost pulled one back late on, but his effort sailed over the bar.
McInally added: “When we went two goals down we decided to have efforts at goal and some crosses and shots.
“It was all too little too late.
“We had a few chances near the end but that wasn’t when it mattered.
“For the first half hour we controlled the game but didn’t look like scoring.
“It’s just not good enough.
“We need to get a few more players in because we’re really short particularly up front.
“Two or three players will help freshen things up a bit.”